Agnes Martin at Tate Modern

The Agnes Martin show at Tate Modern was one of the best shows I have seen so far this year and was a real eye opener in terms of the simple, calm nature that speaks volumes throughout her work.

The grid style that she employed throughout her whole career I found to be tellingly relevant to my own work as I have been looking at both perspective and digital elements such as the pixel, that is itself one block in a large grid.

Colour interplay in Martin’s paintings is very subtle and often softly painted such that the pencil markings underneath are still clearly visible. The simplicity of her work is by far the most important aspect and although unassuming when compared to her abstract expressionist contemporaries, that often have a much louder series of colours and gestures, the repetitive nature of the grid lines grows to prominence in the back of the mind and has a much greater sticking power in the memory than one might initially think.


One piece on display was an attempt at copying a Rothko, which was naff, especially since the whole exhibition is full of pieces that have an equally emotional response as Rothko’s works. The larger works such as ‘White Stone’ and ‘A Gray Stone’ and others such as ‘Adventure’ draw the eye in to survey the surface much like those of Rothko’s and then you start to see things in the minute changes in colouring and the melding of the grid with your mind until one is swallowed by the story involved.

In short, I loved this exhibition and the motif of the grid I am hoping to further incorporate into my work.

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